Edwin S. Grosvenor

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Edwin Stuart Grosvenor
Edwin Grosvenor supervises the printing of American Heritage Magazine
Edwin Grosvenor supervises the printing of American Heritage Magazine
Born (1951-09-17) September 17, 1951 (age 67)
Washington, D.C.
OccupationEditor, Publisher, Nonprofit Manager
Alma materB.A., Yale College; M.S.(journalism), Columbia Journalism School; M.B.A., Columbia School of Business
Notable worksAlexander Graham Bell: The Life and Times of the Inventor of the Telephone
SpouseDeborah C. Grosvenor
ChildrenAlexander M. Grosvenor, Stuart C. Grosvenor

Edwin S. Grosvenor is a writer, photographer, and President and Editor-in-Chief of American Heritage.[1] He has published nine books and is best known for writing on his great-grandfather, Alexander Graham Bell, including two books and several magazine articles. Early in his career, Grosvenor worked as a freelance photographer for National Geographic, completing 23 assignments. He has been interviewed on History Channel, CBS News Sunday Morning, AARP Radio, AP Radio, CBC, NBC Radio Network, NPR, and Voice of America, and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, Boston Museum of Science, and other venues.

Early life[edit]

Born September 17, 1951 in Washington, D.C., Grosvenor is the son of Anne and Melville Bell Grosvenor (1901-1982), who was the President of the National Geographic Society and Editor of its magazine. Grosvenor graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1969, and received a B.A. from Yale College in 1974. He earned an M.S. (Journalism) from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1976 and an M.B.A. from the Columbia Business School in 1977.


Grosvenor developed an interest in photography at an early age. When was 11, a photograph he took at the Seattle World's Fair was published in the September, 1962 issue of National Geographic.[2] Grosvenor subsequently worked as a freelance photographer, completing 23 assignments for the magazine and its book division in such countries as Belize, France, Iceland, Spain, Tonga, and Turkey. On several assignments, he was the photographer for articles written by his father on sailing in Canada,[3] Saint Pierre and Miquelon,[4] and the Aegean and Ionian Islands in Greece,[5] which were "thoroughly and ably documented with photographs by [Edwin Grosvenor], the clan’s newest photographic talent," according to Bob Poole in his history of the National Geographic.[6]

Publishing and Internet[edit]

In 1979, Grosvenor launched the fine arts magazine Portfolio.[7][8] "Since no magazine was going to hire a 27-year-old to be editor in chief, the only solution was to start my own," he told a reporter for the Palm Beach Post.[9] In 1983, Portfolio was a Finalist for a National Magazine Award in the General Excellence category.[10]

In 1992, Grosvenor founded the literary magazine Current Books, which included 20-25 excerpts of recent books in each issue. It published an eclectic mix of writing by such authors as Martin Amis, E.L. Doctorow, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Richard Leakey, John McPhee, Bill Moyers, Joyce Carol Oates, George Plimpton, Salman Rushdie, and John Updike.

Although Current Books published for only three years, it claimed to be "the most widely distributed book publication in bookstores" at the time with copies for sale in 3,840 stores.[11] The magazine was widely regarded in the literary community and in 1995 Grosvenor was asked to serve on the NEA's Literary Publishing Panel. Its members elected him as the Chairman of the panel.[12]

In 1996, Grosvenor founded KnowledgeMax, an online bookseller and elearning company, which merged with Sideware Systems in 2000.[13] The resulting company, called KnowledgeMax, Inc., was publicly traded until 2003.[14]

American Heritage[edit]

In 2007 Grosvenor led a group of investors who purchased American Heritage from Forbes. Grosvenor said, “When I read in The New York Times that American Heritage had folded, I said, “'We just can’t let this happen,’Grosvenor told an interview in 2009. "I contacted the Forbes family and said, “˜This is like intellectual preservation. It’s important to save battlefields and historic homes, but this is the magazine that writes about the battlefields and the historic homes.’ And luckily the Forbes family agreed with me and we formed a new company to save it.”[15] Although American Heritage suspended print publication in 2012, it continues in digital form.

In 2012 and 2013, Grosvenor led a team developing Fourscore (4score.org), an educational website offering thousands of essays and documents for teaching American history and government.[16]

Although American Heritage was forced to stop print publication in 2012, Grosvenor led a group of volunteers that relaunched a digital version of the magazine in June 2017.[17]


Grosvenor is the author, with Morgan Wesson, of Alexander Graham Bell: The Life and Times of the Man Who Invented the Telephone (Harry N Abrams, 1997),[18] a biography of his great-grandfather. He also authored Try it!: the Alexander Graham Bell Science Activity Kit, published by the National Geographic Society in 1992.[19] He has also edited a number of anthologies from American Heritage and Horizon Magazines.

Awards and Memberships[edit]

Grosvenor received the President's Award from Historic Deerfield in 2012.[20]

Grosvenor is a member of the Organization of American Historians, the National Book Critics Circle, and the American Antiquarian Society.[21]


  • Try It!: The Alexander Graham Bell Science Activity Kit and Experiment Book, 1992[22]
  • Alexander Graham Bell: The Life and Times of the Man Who Invented the Telephone (with Morgan Wesson), 1997[18]
  • 299 Things You Should Know about American History (with John A. Garraty), 2009[23]
  • The Best of American Heritage: The Civil War, 2015[24]
  • The Best of American Heritage: Lincoln, 2015[25]
  • History's Great Showdowns, 2016[26]
  • The Middle Ages, 2016[27]
  • 'The Best of American Heritage: Hamilton, 2017[28]
  • 'The Best of American Heritage: New York, 2017[29]


  1. ^ "Edwin S. Grosvenor". AmericanHeritage.com.
  2. ^ Patterson, Carolyn (September 1962). "Seattle Fair Looks to the 21st Century". National Geographic Magazine. 122 (3): 419.
  3. ^ Grosvenor, Melville (July 1970). "North Through History Aboard White Mist". National Geographic. 138 (1).
  4. ^ Grosvenor, Melville Bell. "White Mist Cruise to Wreck-haunted St. Pierre and Miquelon". National Geographic. 132, Number 3 (September 1967).
  5. ^ Grosvenor, Melville B. "Homeward with Ulysses". National Geographic. 144, No. 1 (July 1973): 1.
  6. ^ Poole, Bob (2004). "melville+grosvenor"+eddie+poole&dq="melville+grosvenor"+eddie+poole&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-psPr--DLAhUGQCYKHcCTBykQ6AEIHDAA Explorers house : National Geographic and the world it made. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 9781594200328.
  7. ^ Powell, Jim (April 13, 1979). "Finding the Ads in Art". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Zito, Tom (Mar 20, 1979). "Building a 'Portfolio'" (page B1). The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Quigley, Kathleen (March 20, 1979). "He Isn't Content with Tradition". Palm Beach Daily News.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "National Magazine Awards - Winners and Finalists". American Society of Magazine Editors.
  11. ^ Webster, Dan (July 30, 1995). "Current Books Opens Window Into Literature". Spokane Spokesman-Review: Features section.
  12. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts 1996 Annual Report": 173.
  13. ^ "Sideware Systems and KnowledgeMax Agree to Merge; Sideware To Reincorporate in the United States and To Adopt the KnowledgeMax Name," PRNewsire, December 7, 2000.
  14. ^ Per documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the initial Form S-4 filing.
  15. ^ "American Heritage Celebrates 60th Anniversary". Alexandria News. December 17, 2009. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "American Heritage Launches Fourscore, a Free Website for History Education" (Volume 26 Number 3). National Council for History Education. November 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-04-07.
  17. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (June 2017). "It Wasn't Easy, But American Heritage is Back!". American Heritage. 62 (3).
  18. ^ a b Grosvenor, Morgan Wesson and Edwin S. (1997). Alexander Graham Bell: The Life and Times of the Inventor of the Telephone. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 304. ISBN 978-0810940055.
  19. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin S., Try It!: the Alexander Graham Bell Science Activity Kit, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., 1992. Record at WorldCat.
  20. ^ "Passion for History, Generosity Honored at Historic Deerfield". HistoricDeerfield.org. Archived from the original on August 6, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  21. ^ "Members Directory". American Antiquarian Society. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  22. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (1992). Try It!: The Alexander Graham Bell Science Activity Kit and Experiment Book. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society. p. 88.
  23. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin and John A. Garraty (2009). 299 Things You Should Know about American History. Rockville, Maryland: American Heritage Publishing.
  24. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (2015). The Best of American Heritage: The Civil War. New Word City. ISBN 9781612308562.
  25. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (May 20, 2015). The Best of American Heritage: Lincoln. ISBN 9781612308708.
  26. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (2016). History's Great Showdowns.
  27. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (2016). The Middle Ages.
  28. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (2017). The Best of American Heritage: Hamilton. New Word City. p. 165. ISBN 9781640190214.
  29. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin (2017). The Best of American Heritage: New York. New Word City. p. 330. ISBN 9781640190771.